Old Fogey

by Simon Deimel (Parser, IFDB)

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(Cover art: map of Salmon River and environs in Idaho)

The strange painting on the wall has always bothered you. It’s your ancestor, apparently, and no matter how much you complain, your parents won’t take the painting down. So it’s up to you.

The first thing that struck me was the writing- it was a little jerky and repetitive, and it felt like the writing of someone for whom English isn’t their first language. Case in point:

There is a chair placed next to a table. You can see a book on the table. The cover of the book shows a horse.

In the ‘about’ text, the author had a vision of this being a window onto the bigger, fictional world of Talliston, Idaho. Perhaps because of the setting of the story (where the PC literally cannot move out of the starting room), this did not come across very strongly, since I never got a feel of what the wider community beyond the PC’s family was like.

As a side note, this game used two sound effects – I’m not quite sure what they represent, though, because there wasn’t a clear indication what types of actions produced the different sound effects.

The puzzle is classified as being ‘Tough’ on the forgiveness scale, but this is really because the single puzzle is on quite a tight timer. The game makes it additionally frustrating if you try the most straightforward action because there’s some kind built-in delay to stop you succeeding on the first try. On subsequent replays I realised there was probably an in-universe explanation for your reluctance, but this was not clearly indicated in the text.

I found it hard to enjoy playing this game, really, because the writing was too minimal to make up for the bare-bones implementation and the timed puzzle.

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